Prominent Establishment Economist William White Warns “More Dangers Now Than 2007”

September 13, 2017

First a quick background check on William White…so we know whether or not to grant his opinions more weight and status than the average analyst, this from an older, but still functional, Economist article titled The curious case of Willliam White (September, 2012):

“Most recently, we have William White, a brilliant Canadian economist who used to do research at the Bank of England and the BIS before taking over the Economic Development and Review Committee at the OECD. He is not, in other words, a nut who hides in the woods with gold bricks and canned food. Moreover, he (along with his colleague Claudio Borio), presented one of the earliest and most thoughtful warnings of the financial crisis back in 2003. Anyone with a brain ought to take him seriously, especially when he bucks the conventional wisdom.”

Overlooking the out-of-place “gold bricks and canned food” comment, it pretty much tells us that William White’s opinions should be taken seriously. It is not often that an economist of his stature goes off the reservation.

White, as hinted in the Economist profile, has consistently warned that the global economy stands at a precipice – that essentially the 2007 crisis was not an end but a beginning. If that stance sounds familiar, it should.  It falls in line with the fourth turning analysis covered here in previous posts.  Neil Howe, the author of The Fourth Turning, calls the 2007 crisis the catalyst for the protracted fourth turning now in progress and scheduled to end, by his estimate, sometime in the 2030s. (Please see “Historical inevitability and gold and silver ownership“)

White renews that warning in a Bloomberg interview on Monday (fittingly September 11) under the banner OECD warns “More dangers now than in 2007.” In that six minute interview, White keenly and concisely outlines the bind in which central bank find themselves and the depth of the problem that we need to guard against in our own investment plans. We recommend you take the time to watch it.

He concludes with a warning –

We have to be cautions. We are in a very tough place . . .Be careful of what you do and be very cautions of the side effects because you might not like it.” 

In Ambrose Evans–Pritchard’s column, World faces wave of epic debt defaults, (January, 2016), he provides more detail on White’s analysis for those who would like to dig a little deeper.

Snips:

• The global financial system has become dangerously unstable and faces an avalanche of bankruptcies that will test social and political stability. .

• “It will become obvious in the next recession that many of these debts will never be serviced or repaid, and this will be uncomfortable for a lot of people who think they own assets that are worth something.”

• The European banking system may have to be recapitalized on a scale yet unimagined, and new “bail-in” rules mean that any deposit holder above the guarantee of €100,000 will have to help pay for it.

• “In retrospect, central banks should have let the benign deflation of this (temporary) phase of globalisation run its course. By stoking debt bubbles, they have instead incubated what may prove to be a more malign variant, a classic 1930s-style ‘Fisherite’ debt-deflation.”

On the whole, I consider White’s argument one of the strongest  I have seen for gold and silver ownership as long-term safe haven hedges. The catalyst for that debt-deflation could be the realization in global financial markets that the central banks, as White describes it, have backed themselves into a corner over the past ten years with nowhere to go.  In other words, the next time around – the next time the black swan lands – we will be on our own, walking the high wire without a central bank safety net.

As displayed in the aftermath of the 2007-2008 go-around (see chart below), gold has proven itself to be an excellent hedge for the kind of disinflationary-deflationary breakdown William White fears. It rose by nearly three times over the period. (Silver’s performance was even better. It rose over three and a half times.)

The foregoing was a summary overview. Please follow the links throughout this post for the full story. . . . .

Goldman Sachs chief commodity analyst, Jeff Currie –

“If buying gold, don’t buy futures or ETFs.  Buy the real thing. . .The lesson learned was that if gold liquidity dries up along with the broader market, so does your hedge, unless it’s physical gold in a vault, the true hedge of last resort.”

Note:  Better yet, gold (and silver) in your hands. . . . ––MK

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Michael J. Kosares has over 40 years’ experience in the gold business. He is the founder and executive director of USAGOLD (both the website and gold brokerage service), the author of three books on the gold market, and the editor of "News, Commentary & Analysis," the firm's client letter. He has written numerous magazine and internet essays and is well-known for his ongoing commentary on the gold market and its economic, political and financial underpinnings. Visit his website at www.usagold.com.

A sheet of gold can be made thin enough to be transparent